There are no fluffy pillows in Starhawk’s B&B
Starhawk is trying to regain it’s title as one of Sony’s flagship franchises, piggybacking off the huge successes of Warhawk which ushered us into the next generation of console gaming. With a totally updated art style, single player campaign and revamped multiplayer LightBox Interactive are looking to stake big claims in 2012.
I was lucky enough to snag a beta code from Frankie Peppers over at @starhawkradio (thanks again Frankie) and have some initial impressions that I would like to share. I will update this once I have more time on the sticks but here are some of the things that I’ve noticed.
The graphic style is beautiful, it mixes Sci-fi and Western with a drop of Mad Max just for flavor, this is conveyed by having characters with bio-luminescent veins running through their bodies. Those blue streaks aren’t just there for aesthetics, they play directly into the story-line. The developers have incorporated this idea of “Rift Energy”. This energy is what motivates all those in this world, it has a multitude of uses from health to ammo and most importantly the game’s currency. A currency that wraps around what I believe to be Skyhawk’s most ambitious idea.
The B&B (Build and Battle) system is something that only a genius or a mad man could have come up with. I’m sure when the person who came up with the concept walked into the programmer’s room they wanted to hit him/her with a garbage can. The system basically lets you build structures, weapons and vehicles in real-time almost anywhere on the battlefield. If you need a wall to protect yourself from fire, drop one right in front of you. Need a jetpack to get around the map? Build it.
After playing for a bit it almost becomes second nature to navigate the radial wheel and pick whatever you need to help your team out. I would say so far that they nailed something with the B&B system — something that you won’t really find anywhere else.
The Warhawks are back and now have a bi-pedal mode (I will avoid making Transformer noises) which feels really intuitive and easy to navigate. The flying felt as good as ever but until they let us play with the bigger maps you won’t really be able to stretch your wings. Aiming feels tightened up on all vehicles and standard weapons, voice communications sound clear and so far with the amount of people logged in there isn’t any lag to speak of.
So far the beta only allows CTF games but they are insanely fun, I’m hoping to see very soon what else LBI has up their sleeves. From the numerous tweets and posts on their blog they seem to be listening intently to the user base and that can only breed good things for the gamer.
I will update this post in the future once patches and other updates have been made and will report back here. Also, check out our Google+ gaming podcast “Character Select”. We will give a code away so you can try it too.